JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Federal Magistrate Joel Toomey ordered a temporary detention for 26-year-old Salvadoran national Francisco Obidio Portillo Fuentes, the undocumented man connected to a Nassau County deputy's death.
Portillo Fuentes walked into the courtroom wearing plain clothing and escorted by two Border Patrol agents. He spoke only through an interpreter.
He’s facing a federal charge for re-entering the U.S. after being deported. If he’s convicted, he could serve up to two years in prison, pay a fine of $250,000, or both.
Portillo Fuentes does have a criminal history in Duval County. Back in May he was arrested and convicted for a DUI.
He was sentenced to county jail for 92 days.
According to a federal criminal complaint against Portillo Fuentes, he's twice been deported, first on Nov. 14, 2011, and then again on Sept. 28, 2016.
The criminal complaint details how Portillo Fuentes said he last entered the U.S. on or about Nov. 19 by wading across the Rio Grande near Laredo, Texas.
Not even a week later, he was arrested in Jacksonville near Powers Avenue after police said he ran away from Border Patrol agents, causing the death of Nassau County Deputy Eric Oliver, 32, who was hit by a car while running after him.
Local immigration attorney Rebecca Black said it’s unlikely any judge will be sympathetic to Portillo Fuentes.
“If you have any kind of criminal background in your history, it makes it harder, from an immigration standpoint, to justify to the federal government why that person should be allowed to remain,” said Black.
While wading across the Rio Grande is one way to get into the U.S. illegally, Black said people also take risks in other ways.
“In this day and age with the amount of enforcement we have on the border and the amount of walls that we have and the amount of CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) officers we have down there, people pay 'coyotes' to get across,” said Black.
Portillo Fuentes has not been charged in connection with Deputy Oliver’s death, but that possibility has not been ruled out.
Action News Jax law & safety expert Dale Carson said it could take months or even years to charge Portillo Fuentes in the deputy’s death.
“There's no rush to do this. He's captured now, he's in federal custody. He's likely to be federally charged, but that won't stop the State of Florida from charging him as well if that's determined to be appropriate,” said Carson.
Because Portillo Fuentes has a previous DUI conviction in Duval County, Black said he now becomes a priority to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
“He is very much what's called an ICE enforcement priority,” said Black.
According to the criminal complaint, there’s no record of Portillo Fuentes applying for or requesting permission to re-enter the U.S.
He will be appointed an attorney and will appear before a federal judge for a detention hearing on Monday at 2 p.m.
Cox Media Group